Sunday, March 13, 2011

#307: Shamrock Shuffle 3K

Pennsy checks his watch at the finish line.
A new personal best!
2011 Shamrock Shuffle 3K
Time: 0:24:05
Distance: 1.80 mi
Avg Speed: 4.48 mph
Pace: 13:23 min/mi

What a fantastic day. I ran much better than I expected. The crowd kind of pulled me along and while most were passing me, I still ran near my fastest pace. The weather, which is often miserable this time of year, was nearly perfect. Temps were in the low 50's, the sun was shining, and we even had a tail wind for some of the last quarter mile. Mrs P was there, cheering bravely in the cool morning air - much cooler for her than for me, even with my shorts. She wept as I crossed the finish line. I didn't weep. I was too tired to weep. But man, was I happy.

On the drive home, as I chugged my Gatorade, I told her how much I loved to make her proud of me. It's such a great feeling to see her smile as she hugs me after a race, or a show, or even when I do the dishes. She looked puzzled. "But, I've always been proud of you," she told me with the candor that only old friends can share. That's when I realized that I wasn't just trying to make her proud. I was trying to be proud of myself, too.

For so much of my life, I've been unsure, even ashamed of myself. Under achiever. Overweight. Hypocrite. Hypochondriac. They've all applied at one time or another, and I've tended to hang on to them, to see myself through those dirty lenses. But I'm learning that there's another way to look at Pennsy. I pray for mercy from God. I try to be gracious and forgiving to other people. Maybe I can give a little to myself, too. Sure, I sometimes fail to live up to my own standards, but I can often exceed them beyond my own hopes. When I was very young, I was so insecure that I learned to hide behind arrogance. As I grew older, and my ego cost me more and more friendships, I exchanged arrogance for shame. I learned to judge myself, to cling to my own shortcomings as a way to stay humble. But there is a kind of false pride in judgment, even when you judge yourself. I don't have the right to condemn anyone, not even me. That's a hard lesson to learn. I can't say that I've mastered it. But every now and then there are flashes.

I just love these things.

There is great reward in setting a goal, working hard to achieve it, then surpassing your own expectations. That's something that shame can't achieve. That's a place arrogance can't reach. It takes determination. It takes will. It doesn't make you better than anyone else. But it does make you better than you were before you tried. It's something to be proud of.

I still have a long way to go: many miles to gain and many pounds to lose. Tomorrow, it's back to the gym to get stronger and faster. But today, yeah, I'm proud. And there's nothing wrong with that. The Fat Man is running. Thanks be to God.



  1. Bless you, old friend!!!!!

  2. You are a man of great soulfulness, a worthy opponent, a kind and intelligent friend, an incredible performer,and now, it seems, something of a skinny runner, too! Who knew?
    Well, everyone, it seems.
    Congratuations, dear friend. I am continually amazed.

  3. Let's update those stats on the right!!! '08 is looking sad sitting there all alone...

  4. OK, le. I'll start working on the code. It takes a while. Probably lose another 5 pounds before the chart is done!


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